The Mounties accompany men who do-right



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Advocacy News - Mounties accompany men who do-right

April 14, 2021

Mounties accompany men who do-right
Honour for Canadians at US national celebration

The following is a press release from Equality Forum:

Canadians Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell will be honoured at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement in Philadelphia on Sunday, May 1. Bourassa and Varnell were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in North America [January 14, 2001]. The Canadian government is sending two Royal Canadian Mounties to accompany the couple as they accept the award.

“Kevin and Joe’s successful battle for legal recognition of their marriage propelled marriage equality in Canada and across North America,” said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. “The presence of Royal Canadian Mounties is a sign of national esteem and honour. Kevin and Joe are Canadian Heroes – they symbolize Canadian family values and respect for individual liberty.”

Other recipients of the 40 Heroes Award include Volker Beck, a member of the German Bundestag who has been a preeminent European leader in GLBT civil rights; Bishop Gene Robinson; Congressman Barney Frank; MTV; Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and others.

Bourassa and Varnell will receive a 40 Heroes Award on a large stage in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, the site where the first annual and organized gay and lesbian rights demonstration took place on July 4, 1965. These pre-Stonewall protests from 1965 to 1969 launched the international Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Movement.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will unveil a Historical Marker designating the area as the birthplace of the GLBT Movement It is believed to be only the second official marker designating a site significant to GLBT Civil Rights.

Equality Forum 2005 & National Celebration (April 25 to May 1) features over 100 programs, including 14 parties and 40 special events. More than 105 state, regional, national and international non-profit organizations and 30 national and international GLBT Executive Directors will be participating. Thirty (30) states, D.C. and Puerto Rico will hold State Receptions on Saturday, April 30.

The 16-hour National Celebration on Independence Mall includes the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute, the SundayOUT street festival, screenings of the documentary Gay Pioneers, an Interfaith Service with Bishop Gene Robinson at historic Christ Church, a Gay Icons Pavilion at the Independence Visitors Center, Conversations with Gay Leaders at the National Constitution Center, a National Celebration Concert with Cyndi Lauper, celebrities, and parties.

Queer as Folk star
Robert Gant is MC at
40 Heroes Tribute

Robert Gant, an out cast member of Queer as Folk, has been named Master of Ceremonies for the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute at the National Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement. The Tribute is on Sunday, May 1 in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Robert Gant

"Robert Gant is a committed activist. He has lent his name and prestige to many important causes in our community," said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "We are delighted to welcome him as Master of Ceremonies for our version of the Gay Icon Academy Awards," Lazin said.

"I am honored to host the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute at the National Celebration," Gant said. "This historic event will be remembered like the 1963 demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial. I am thrilled to appear on stage in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, where the movement started 40 years ago."

Gant joins Cyndi Lauper, who will perform at the National Celebration Concert, and Kate Clinton, who will participate in the Gay Pioneers & 40 Heroes Tribute

Cyndi Lauper

There is no registration fee for Equality Forum 2005 and all substantive events including the National Celebration are free. Twenty Center City hotels are offering lowest rate.

For more information, please visit Equality Forum's Press Room
Contact information for Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

Thanks to Bruce Walker and Lloyd Simmons for assistance with Philadelphia expenses.

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